back to article Bonne année, Google, Facebook! France to tax tech giants from 1 Jan

France will start levying charges on tech giants from 1 January 2019, making it the latest nation to go it alone on a digital sales tax. Finance minister Bruno Le Maire said the tax – which will cover advertising revenues, platforms and the resale of personal data – is expected to raise €500m (£450m) in its first year. The …

  1. jelabarre59


    Wouldn't being in France be taxing enough in itself?

    (and yes, it's a French name)

  2. ivan5

    First question, how long does this last when when everything french vanishes from Google?

    Next question, since the EU is built on the idea of a common market how do they fudge the rules and charge tax on a company registered in another EU country, or is this a sign of the EU itself breaking up?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      As long as Google makes enough profits after the taxes, it won't go away.

      Anyway the issue is exactly the unfair competition inside EU were some small states with a few millions people can survive with low corporate taxes as long as they can funnel - besides EU funds - profits made by large companies (with little more than HQ offices there) in states with tens of millions of people - which may also have bigger social issues and expenses.

      Just look at what's happening in France in these days. You're right, the idea of *common* market means there should also be *common* rules - including taxes.

    2. devTrail

      how do they fudge the rules ...

      There doesn't seem to be any fudge.

      Since it is a new type of tax on local earnings there is no double taxation.

    3. Wellyboot Silver badge

      @ivan5 >>> how do they fudge the rules<<<

      Because they're French and put French interests first and always - what's good for France is good for Europe, What's good for Europe better be good for France or it's not happening! I'm not complaining, it's an honest approach.

      This gives a good example of the french perspective on almost anything.

      1. The Nazz

        re Wellyboot.

        Not a well chosen example, at all. Rather a good example of US , and globalised, perspectives.

        With the connivance of "helpful" politicians and lawmakers, a localised authentic product is replaced with lowest common denominator, mass produced, processed crap made by a US megacorp. Not only substituting local produce, but removing any value from the local area, and usually paying little or no tax.

        And people wonder Brexit gained a clear majority (52% v 48%) or the gilets jeunes take to the streets?

    4. RyokuMas

      "First question, how long does this last when when everything french vanishes from Google?"

      As much as I believe that Google would threaten to do this, I don't believe they would.

      Say that they did go and do this - any subsequent downturn in the French economy that could be pinned on such an action would undeniably prove that not only does Google have an effective monopoly on web search, but they are also capable of directly affecting major economies by their actions.

      Google may be able to drag out anti-competition cases and lobby like nobody else, but doing something like this could only result in an immediate and massive legal response against them on an international level (apart perhaps from in America). And regardless of the outcome, public trust in Google would be utterly shattered forever - way beyond post-browser-wars stuff.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Next question, since the EU is built on the idea of a common market"

      A (sadly) very common misconception. The EU is built on the idea of political union to prevent war, achieved through the mean of a common market that makes its members interdependent.

      See its founding document, the Schumann Declaration:

      The UK having been involved in the same wars as France and Germany for pretty much its whole history, it's really sad only the market aspect seemed to matter there :/

    6. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      how long does this last when when everything french vanishes from Google?

      Not gonna happen. If Google did that, they'd leave a big chunk of the European (and African) market to the competition, allowing rivals to get a strong foothold from which to expand. Slightly diminished profit is still profit, and letting the competition unhindered is very un-Google.

      the EU is built on the idea of a common market how do they fudge the rules and charge tax on a company registered in another EU country, or is this a sign of the EU itself breaking up?

      That's actually 2 questions, "fudge the rules" and "the UE breaking up". The answer to the first question is rather obvious: there is currently no rule, so putting a local one in place while the issue is debated at a higher level is fair game. As for the second, the situation is self-explanatory (Italy, Greece, Brexit, Gilets Jaunes, the looming breakup of the German governing majority, and other signs), all that point to actual people being a bit fed up of the supranational, unaccountable nature of the EU Commission (the EU "Parliament" role was to muddy the waters by suggesting a democratic process, but people are beginning to understand what "consultative" means: the "Parliament is able to voice concerns, which the Commission is then free to disregard entirely)

  3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    When in France …

    Google should take a leaf out of the French farmers' play book and deliver all search results burning merrily.

  4. Scott Broukell

    I'm expecting that in the new year the Google search page banner will feature un gilet jaune if you search for something en Français ?

    (I'll get me own gilet, thank you)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps they'll ressurrect "you searched for great french miltary victories - did you mean great french military defeats" joke someone managed by gaming their search ratings some years back as part of hte official functionality

    2. devTrail

      I don't think that those now wearing un gilet jaune would be happy about it. Probably they would switch to Qwant en masse, even though Qwant pretends to be French but returns the results of Bing API.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Yeah, that sounds like Silicon Valley. All nice and fuzzy PR while "disrupting" people's wages in whatever area they deem disruptable.

  5. devTrail

    Sounds fishy

    A lot of states complain that a small number of states is stalling the whole process and each of them decides to go alone with uncoordinated measures. Why don't they form a smaller group of states willing to take an action and agree something that could be adopted by all of them? It would be easier to enforce rules shared by different countries and if big weights like France, the UK and Germany had already something in place it would be easier to push the same measures in the EU wide talks.

    The current approach seems designed to fail, a way of letting the citizen believe they are doing something.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Sounds fishy

      I believe it's called Enhanced Cooperation in EU speak. If you can get sufficient countries to join you, then you can push a policy through the EU - but that's optional to join.

      This was the approach tried with the Tobin Tax after the financial crisis. But nobody could agree on what they wanted, even amongst that subset of members that joined the group, so it all fell apart. Not helped by the Commission's analysis that a Tobin tax would have generated negative revenue - in that it would have shrunk the countries' economies so much that they'd have lost more revenue in other taxes than they gained from the Tobin tax.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good Moaning

    Google should spell/pronounce all French search results in the 'Allo Allo' style.

    Listen carefully, I shall say this only once...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I note they are also taxing the sale of personal data. As this is seen as a revenue stream I expect governments to be less and less interested in the amount of privacy erosion that takes place for individuals - while happily taxing the proceeds.

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